The full-year global results for 2016 saw that demand, measured in revenue passenger kilometers (RPKs), rose 6.3% compared with 2015.
This performance was well ahead of the 10-year average annual growth rate of 5.5%. Capacity rose 6.2% compared with 2015.
Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO, commented: “Air travel was a good news story in 2016. Connectivity increased with the establishment of more than 700 new routes. And a $44 fall in average return fares helped to make air travel even more accessible.
The challenge for governments is to work with the industry to meet demand
"As a result, a record 3.7 billion passengers flew safely to their destination.
“Demand for air travel is still expanding,” he continued. “The challenge for governments is to work with the industry to meet that demand with infrastructure that can accommodate the growth, regulation that facilitates growth and taxes that don’t choke growth.
“If we can achieve that, there is plenty of potential for a safe, secure and sustainable aviation industry to create more jobs and increase prosperity.”
International passenger traffic rose 6.7% in 2016 compared to 2015, with capacity rising 6.9%. Middle East carriers saw highest demand growth for the fifth year in a row.
International traffic demand figures by region:
• Asia Pacific carriers recorded a demand increase of 8.3% compared to 2015. Capacity rose 7.7%.
• European carriers’ international traffic climbed 4.8% Capacity rose 5.0%.
• North American airlines saw demand rise 2.6%. Capacity rose 3.3%.
• Middle East carriers saw the highest demand growth – 11.8%. Capacity growth was 13.7%.
• Latin American airlines’ traffic rose 7.4% in 2016. Capacity rose 4.8%.
• African airlines had their best growth performance since 2012, up 7.4%. Capacity exactly matched demand, with growth also 7.4%.